In this article, the NRICH team describe the process of selecting solutions for publication on the site.
This article for primary teachers suggests ways in which to help children become better at working systematically.
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
This article for teachers suggests activities based on pegboards, from pattern generation to finding all possible triangles, for example.
Chandra, Jane, Terry and Harry ordered their lunches from the
sandwich shop. Use the information below to find out who ordered
Can you put plus signs in so this is true? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 = 99
How many ways can you do it?
Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules, to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.
There are nine teddies in Teddy Town - three red, three blue and three yellow. There are also nine houses, three of each colour. Can you put them on the map of Teddy Town according to the rules?
Move from the START to the FINISH by moving across or down to the
next square. Can you find a route to make these totals?
Ben and his mum are planting garlic. Use the interactivity to help
you find out how many cloves of garlic they might have had.
My briefcase has a three-number combination lock, but I have
forgotten the combination. I remember that there's a 3, a 5 and an
8. How many possible combinations are there to try?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
Can you make dice stairs using the rules stated? How do you know you have all the possible stairs?
This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, invites you to explore the different combinations of scores that you might get on these dart boards.
In this maze of hexagons, you start in the centre at 0. The next
hexagon must be a multiple of 2 and the next a multiple of 5. What
are the possible paths you could take?
Frances and Rishi were given a bag of lollies. They shared them out evenly and had one left over. How many lollies could there have been in the bag?
Find out about Magic Squares in this article written for students. Why are they magic?!
Zumf makes spectacles for the residents of the planet Zargon, who
have either 3 eyes or 4 eyes. How many lenses will Zumf need to
make all the different orders for 9 families?
Start with three pairs of socks. Now mix them up so that no
mismatched pair is the same as another mismatched pair. Is there
more than one way to do it?
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is
between each super-eclipse?
Imagine that the puzzle pieces of a jigsaw are roughly a
rectangular shape and all the same size. How many different puzzle
pieces could there be?
Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems
give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical
concepts and skills. Read here for more information.
This article for teachers describes several games, found on the
site, all of which have a related structure that can be used to
develop the skills of strategic planning.
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
Use the information to describe these marbles. What colours must be
on marbles that sparkle when rolling but are dark inside?
A game for 2 people. Take turns placing a counter on the star. You win when you have completed a line of 3 in your colour.
This problem is based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
In how many ways could Mrs Beeswax put ten coins into her three
puddings so that each pudding ended up with at least two coins?
This magic square has operations written in it, to make it into a
maze. Start wherever you like, go through every cell and go out a
total of 15!
There are 4 jugs which hold 9 litres, 7 litres, 4 litres and 2
litres. Find a way to pour 9 litres of drink from one jug to
another until you are left with exactly 3 litres in three of the
Using the cards 2, 4, 6, 8, +, - and =, what number statements can
El Crico the cricket has to cross a square patio to get home. He
can jump the length of one tile, two tiles and three tiles. Can you
find a path that would get El Crico home in three jumps?
You have two egg timers. One takes 4 minutes exactly to empty and
the other takes 7 minutes. What times in whole minutes can you
measure and how?
What happens when you round these numbers to the nearest whole number?
This activity focuses on rounding to the nearest 10.
What happens when you round these three-digit numbers to the nearest 100?
What two-digit numbers can you make with these two dice? What can't you make?
Try this matching game which will help you recognise different ways of saying the same time interval.
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so if you work in a systematic way, you won't leave any out.
Use two dice to generate two numbers with one decimal place. What happens when you round these numbers to the nearest whole number?
In this calculation, the box represents a missing digit. What could the digit be? What would the solution be in each case?
This task follows on from Build it Up and takes the ideas into three dimensions!
Can you find all the ways to get 15 at the top of this triangle of numbers?
First Connect Three game for an adult and child. Use the dice numbers and either addition or subtraction to get three numbers in a straight line.
Find the sum and difference between a pair of two-digit numbers. Now find the sum and difference between the sum and difference! What happens?